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UW Rowing Mourns Passing Of Husky Hall Of Famer John Bisset '58

Jun 7, 2022

Husky Hall of Famer John Bisset, the coxswain of one of Washington Rowing's most legendary crews, passed away Monday, June 6, his family has confirmed.
Bisset was the coxswain of the Huskies' 1958 crew that famously beat the Soviets in a race in Moscow, one of the most memorable and significant moments in Washington athletics history. Bisset and his crew were inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1984.
"John Bisset was a legend of Washington Rowing," said UW head coach Michael Callahan '96. "Through Husky Crew, rowing became a big part of his character and life. John was a loyal and enthusiastic friend of the program, and we will miss him.  Our condolences to his family, crew mates and friends."
In 1958, UW coach Al Ulbrickson brought his eight to the Henley Royal Regatta in England, where the Huskies lost to Leningrad Trud – the Soviet National Team – in the Grand Challenge Cup. A rematch was arranged two weeks later in Moscow, marking the first time that an American athletic team had visited the USSR since the end of World War II. The Huskies beat the Soviets in the first sporting event broadcast to the United States from behind the Iron Curtain.
Bisset, a Roosevelt High graduate who had never been in a rowing shell before fraternity brothers talked him into trying out for the UW program as a freshman, went on to become an assistant rowing coach at Washington and the head coach at UCLA. He eventually returned to Seattle, where he served as the executive director of the UW Alumni Association. Later, he served as president of Alumni Holidays, a university-affiliated group travel agency, before retiring on Camano Island, Wash.
Bisset was proceeded in death by his wife of 52 years, Jane, and is survived by his second wife, Beverly, as well as his children, Joni and James.